Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 05:42 PM
Divergent third-quarter sales results from Macy's and Walmart spell two different tales for the retailers. But they also bespeak one America—a consumer public that is really honing in on deals as holiday shopping enters the most crucial period.
Macy's surprised its Wall Street followers with a 22 percent profit surge for the period and same-store sales growth of 3.5 percent, just one quarter after its earnings results missed analysts' expectations for the first time in six years. The chain and analysts credited, in part, good response by management to economic and consumer trends and a determined execution of its strategic blueprint that calls for expansion of the My Macy's localized-merchandise platform and omnichannel retailing, among other things.
But there was no mistaking the main reason for Macy's better-than-expected results: It did a better-than-expected job of appealing to financially strapped middle America with discounts and other promotions.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 12, 2013 05:58 PM
So much for the season of giving. According to the US National Retail Federation, more than half of "holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of nearly $140 on 'self gifts,'" and brands like Roku are hoping that streaming services will be at the top of their list.
Set-top box maker Roku is upping the ante with a $12 million “Now This is TV” holiday ad campaign to keep pace with competitors like Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, Xbox One, Google's Chromecast and Apple TV. The effort eclipses Roku's entire 2012 marketing budget, but with Netflix and Amazon pushing out original series on top of offering expansive video libraries, Roku hopes the ad effort will bring attention back to its broad content library as a "key differentiator," Ad Age reports.
As popular as Roku's set-top boxes are, there is plenty of competition. Apple has reportedly sold more of its set-top boxes than Roku, and Google's Chromecast offers a pared-down, more affordable version of Roku's services, but it seems consumers still prefer the little black box. In a report from Parks Associates, 37 percent of respondents who had streaming video said they primarily used Roku while only 24 percent said Apple TV was their first choice.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 11, 2013 07:22 PM
Bigger than Cyber Monday (which notched up US $1.46 billion in sales last November) and bigger than China's National Day "Golden Week," China's Singles Day ("光棍节") also known as "1111" as it falls on 11/11, has become the the biggest online shopping day of the year—worldwide. This year's event was expected to break all previous records, and that it swiftly did.
In the first twenty minutes of the day's online sales going live, China's dominant commerce site, Taobao, recorded US$500 million in sales. By 10:00 am, Taobao had crossed US$2.46 billion in sales. By 1:00 pm, the sales frenzy passed last year's tally. By the end of the day, owner Alibaba (China's equivalent of Amazon) crowed that its Taobao and Tmall online shopping hubs recorded 35 billion yuan or RMB, or a whopping US$5.75 billion.
Not bad for a holiday that didn't even exist 25 years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 11, 2013 10:18 AM
Can Amazon save the United States Postal Service? Well, no, but it can make the long-suffering government agency do something nobody could have possibly predicted—work on Sundays.
Starting this week, the USPS will deliver Amazon's packages on Sundays in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The move comes ahead of the busiest holiday season, and as the USPS would end up eliminating Saturday delivery in order to save billions of dollars annually.
Now Amazon has worked out a deal with the US Postal Service, which lost nearly $16 billion last year, for the agency to use flexible scheduling with its current employees to get its goods to customers, according to a press release.
It’s a pretty sweet deal for Amazon Prime customers since UPS and FedEx don't deliver on Sundays. Amazon's plan is that the Sunday-delivery option will be introduced to Dallas, Phoenix, New Orleans, and other cities next year and be available throughout the whole year, not just at the holidays.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2013 03:49 PM
Halloween is barely a distant memory in retailing terms, but what really frightens store chains this week is the prospect that the quickly approaching holiday season will be a scary period for them.
Economic snapshots and projections aren't all that encouraging, and neither has been the sluggishness that retail brands have seen in their own stores so far this fall. So brands including Walmart, J. Crew, MasterCard and luxury auto brands already have joined Best Buy in getting what they hope will be an early jump on holiday spending.
Walmart, for example, is pulling forward seven big deals on items including TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 4, 2013 07:15 PM
Can't spare a square? Swiss Chocolate brand Milka is using 13 million chocolate bars to promote a “Dare To Be Tender” campaign in France and Germany—the brand’s largest markets. But the campaign hopes to give back by taking away—a square of chocolate, that is.
Created by Paris-based ad agency Buzzman, the campaign, which removes one square of chocolate from the traditional Milka bar, required an alteration to the entire manufacturing process. Each bar's packaging contains a special code that can be entered on a microsite where consumers can choose from two options: request the missing square for themselves, or enter a note and address for a recipient who will recieve the "last square" in the mail.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 8, 2013 07:12 PM
Ron Johnson has been ousted as CEO of JCPenney as the retailer's board of directors voted on Monday to turn to his predecessor to pull the company out of the death spiral (it lost $4.3 billion in sales last year) on Johnson's watch, rather than give the former Target executive and Apple retail head the extra time he wanted to see his radical vision through to fruition.
Mike Ullman, who had been CEO of JCPenney until 2011, before Johnson, is returning to take the helm again at least for the time being, according to a JCPenney press release:
"The Board of Directors of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. today announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III has rejoined the Company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He has also been elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Ullman is a highly accomplished retail industry executive, who served as CEO of jcpenney until late 2011. He succeeds Ron Johnson, who is stepping down and leaving the Company."
The stock market appreciated the move, which comes on the same day that JCPenney resumed its courtroom clash with Macy's in Manhattan over rights to field the Martha Stewart product lines that Johnson maintained would be crucial to turning around JCPenney's fortunes.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 5, 2013 06:30 PM
Gun Company Fires Back at Tommy Guns Vodka
Chicago mobsters back in the days of Al Capone favored a submachine gun known as the Tommy gun, which was then glorified in plenty of films and books about the era. But Tommy guns aren’t some relic of history. Saeilo Enterprises still makes them, and the owners aren’t very happy with Alphonse Capone Enterprises and its Tommy Guns Vodka, which is sold in a bottle shaped like the famous gun.
In fact, they are so annoyed that a lawsuit has been filed, the Chicago Tribune reports. Saeilo wants all of the Tommy Guns Vodka that is left to be turned over so it can all be destroyed. (Consumption counts as destroying, right?)Continue reading...